Miss Sweden cancelled after “feminist harassment”

The organiser of the annual 'Miss Sweden' beauty pageant has been forced to cancel this year's contest following "harassment from feminist groups". The decision means that Sweden will not be sending a delegate to the global 'Miss Universe' event - for the first time since it was inaugurated in 1952.

Panos Emporio, the Scandinavian swimwear company which bought the rights to run Miss Sweden from TV3 last year, says it will try to find a formula that is acceptable “to most people in society” in time for next year’s event.

“Feminists forced me to cancel,” said Panos Papadopoulos, the chief executive of Panos Emporio and self-proclaimed ‘bikini king’. “I was surprised that in a country as far developed and as liberated as Sweden women’s rights movements receive so much attention in the media regarding an issue like this.”

Papadopoulos declined to name the specific feminist organisations which had pressured him into cancelling Miss Sweden but he told The Local that he had received negative calls and messages of a personal nature.

“It’s impossible to talk to these people,” he said.

Nevertheless, Papadopoulos said that he has been encouraged by an equally strong response from those who support the event.

“This has created a big reaction – and whether they like something or dislike something Scandinavians don’t often react. But for the first time since I came to Sweden 25 years ago I’ve had a lots of people contacting me saying they are disappointed that we had to cancel Miss Sweden.”

Panos Emporio sponsored Miss Sweden for 15 years before buying it outright for an undisclosed sum last year. Papadopoulos said that the goal was to give back the competition “its original high status”.

Despite this setback, Papadopoulos told The Local that he is not giving up. He said that his company is working behind the scenes “to create something new and astonishing” but he acknowledged that he was surprised by the negative feeling towards the glitzy girlfest.

“I could understand this kind of reaction in an Arabic country,” he said. “But not in Sweden – particularly considering what you see on TV here every day.

Sweden’s main feminist groups were unavailable for comment.